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Matthew Hancock
Your Local MP

Classic American musical comes to town stage

Monday, 16th May 2011.

One of the classic musical shows of all time arrives at Haverhill Arts Centre tomorrow, all the way from the pioneering west of America.

Oklahoma! is the Centre Stage Company summer production and runs all the week, with a matinee on Saturday.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical changed the history of the genre when it first came out in 1943.

It has been called the single most influential work in the American musical theatre, and the first fully integrated musical play.

Its blending of song, character, plot and even dance would serve as the model for Broadway shows for decades and is still just as popular today with a series of West End revivals.

The number of hit songs in one musical has hardly ever been equalled. O What A Beautiful Morning, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top, I'm Just A Girl Who Can't Say No, Many A New Day, Out Of Your Dreams, People Will Say We're In Love, All Or Nuthin'... the list goes on and on.

Centre Stage's production is the third time the company has staged the musical, and features many of the talented younger members who have come through the group in recent years.

Lauren Chinery plays Laurey and Tom Ogden is Curly, the romantic leads, while Steven Ridpath plays the lecherous pedlar Ali Hakim, Aimee Ewens is the dim Ado Annie and Cian Harriss is the even dimmer Will Parker.

Centre Stage stalwarts are also in evidence, with Jim Morgan reprising the role of Jud Fry he played in 2000, as does Debbi Walters, who returns as Aunt Eller, and Andy Letcher plays Mr Carnes as he did in 2000, having played Will Parker back in 1982, when the show was the first musical staged by the group as Haverhill and District Operatic Society, breaking away from its traditional Gilbert and Sullivan.

There is a chorus of cowboys, farmers and girls who are put through their paces in the various dance routines.

The show features a full orchestra and is conducted by Karen Chinery, whose father Les Ahger conducted the company's previous two productions of the show.

Oklahoma! is directed by Bernard Sipple, who has brought several Farndale Avenue comedies to the stage with the group, but is turning his hand to a musical for the first time.

Shows begin at 7.30pm each evening, with a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday, and ticket are available from the Arts Centre box office on 01440 714140.

Haverhill Online News

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